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Is cunnilingus obscene? Facebook says yes.

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by thepleasurechest

As many of you know, The Pleasure Chest hosts free educational workshops at all three of our retail stores. The workshops are an opportunity to share practical information about safer sex, from kissing and masturbation to oral sex and BDSM. We’ve been posting our workshop announcements on Facebook, without a problem, ever since we started our account on the social networking behemoth.

Yesterday, we received a disturbing notice informing us that the event announcement for one our workshops had been removed, for violating Facebook’s Terms of Use agreement. Here’s the key passage:

“The event ‘Pleasure Her Perfect: Going Down’ has been removed because it violated our Terms of Use. Among other things, events that are hateful, threatening, or obscene are not allowed.”

The notice also warned that:

“Continued misuse of Facebook’s features could result in your account being disabled.”

We can’t imagine how an invitation to a class on oral sex, posted for the benefit of people who have opted-in to our feed, could be “hateful” or “threatening,” so we can only assume that Facebook finds the event description “obscene.”  (A screenshot of that description is below.)

If so, this wouldn’t be the first time that Facebook has targeted sex educators for censorship. Last year, both Self Serve and Violet Blue found their pages disabled by the site’s anonymous guardians of morality. And just last month, we discovered that we were unable to post a workshop announcement with the title “Anal Pleasure 101″ because the word “anal” made the listing “not valid.” We solved the problem by spelling the offending word “An*l,” which is kinda funny, since the asterisk reminds us of a butthole!

It’s not just sex educators who have had trouble. Facebook is an ongoing battle with users who post photos of breastfeeding! (We’re not kidding.)

We’re really not sure why this particular event posting roused the Facebook sex police. On any given day, our Facebook feed is much racier than our own profile page. Yes, we even see a fair amount of porn, posted regularly by our friends in the sex industry. So, what gives?

Perhaps the societal doublestandard that considers cunnilingus more taboo than fellatio is to blame. An upcoming Blowjobs & Beyond workshop remains on our events tab (and y’all should definitely check it out!) Cunnilingus in the movies often gets slapped with an NC-17 rating by the MPAA, while depictions of men getting head typically pass with an R-rating.

We might also ask why oral sex is considered obscene, while this apparently isn’t. The bottom line is that we can’t read Mark Zuckerberg’s mind, and finding out which words or images triggered a specific act of content removal is all but impossible. Our only recourse is to tone it down, cross our fingers, and hope we don’t get our account disabled or deleted.

In the meantime, are you following us on Twitter (NY, LA, Chicago) yet? Because Twitter definitely isn’t trying to defriend the sex industry.

3 Comments

  • Pleasure Chest

    [...] you’re a regular reader, you know that we’ve had our own problems with Facebook censorship. Last month, the social media giant got some negative PR for censoring a photo of two men kissing. [...]

    ReplyMay 13, 2011 at 4:42 pm

  • Pleasure Chest

    [...] In other social media news, we discovered that Facebook censors the word “bondage” in event titles. Regular readers might know that we’ve had similar Facebook problems with the word “anal” and with teaching about cunnilingus. [...]

    ReplyJuly 11, 2011 at 6:49 pm

  • Pleasure Chest

    [...] of our past troubles with censorship, particularly on Facebook where a workshop on cunnilingus was flagged for removal and where the words “bondage” and “anal” have been  blocked in event [...]

    ReplyJuly 23, 2012 at 8:11 pm

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